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Great Life Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Great Life Grain Free product line includes 2 dry dog foods.
Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
Click the links below to compare prices at an online retailer.
Great Life Grain Free Chicken Recipe was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Great Life Grain Free Chicken Recipe
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken (dehydrated), chicken meal, peas, chickpeas, tapioca starch, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, dicalcium phosphate, flaxseed, alfalfa meal, tomato pomace, salmon oil, salt, choline chloride, potassium chloride, freeze dried chicken, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement), dandelion greens, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, green lipped mussel powder, pumpkin seeds, dried kelp, dried carrots, dried blueberries, dried spinach, dried kale, dried papaya, dried zucchini, turmeric
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||34%||16%||42%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||30%||34%||36%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is dehydrated chicken. Dehydrated chicken is considered a meat concentrate and contains more than four times as much protein as fresh chicken.
Plus (unlike chicken meal) dehydrated chicken is never exposed to high temperatures during processing, so it preserves more of the meat’s natural nutrients.
The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The fourth ingredient lists chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.
However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fifth ingredient is tapioca starch, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.
The sixth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
After the natural flavor, we find dicalcium phosphate, likely used here as a dietary calcium supplement.
The ninth ingredient is flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With 5 notable exceptions…
First, we find salmon oil. Salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.
Next, we note the use of alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
In addition, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.
Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
And lastly, this food contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.
Great Life Grain Free Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Great Life Grain Free Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 34% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 42% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 45%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, chickpeas, flaxseed and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.
Great Life Grain Free is a dry dog food using a liberal amount of named meats as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
Great Life Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to Great Life. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
- “Last Update” field at the end of this review reflects the last time we attempted to visit this product’s website. The current review itself was last updated 10/08/2018 ↩
04/18/2020 Last Update